Does Red Wine Have Any Effect on Weight Loss?


Red wine is the alcoholic drink of choice for many people, and it’s gotten a lot of buzz for its potential health benefits.

The drink, made from fermented red grapes, is loaded with antioxidants, but it can also be full of calories and sugar.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be wondering if red wine could help you or if it would just be a hindrance.

This article reviews red wine’s nutrient content, what the evidence says about red wine and weight control, and how you can enjoy red wine while still losing weight.

A 5-ounce (148-mL) serving of red wine contains (1):

  • Calories: 125
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Alcohol: 16 grams

Most of the calories in red wine come from alcohol, which provides seven calories per gram, and the remainder comes from carbs (2).

Keep in mind that there are several different types of red wine, all with varying amounts of alcohol and sugar content, which will affect their total calorie count. Additionally, there will be some variation among brands.

Summary

A 5-ounce (148-mL) serving of red wine contains 125 calories, mostly from alcohol and carbs. There will be some variation among types and brands of red wine.

Several studies have assessed the link between alcoholic beverages and weight.

When it comes to weight management, there appear to be both pros and cons to drinking red wine.

Pros

Red wine is rich in resveratrol and other antioxidants that may benefit blood sugar control, heart health, and inflammation. Additionally, moderate wine consumption may help protect against excess weight gain (2, 3).

Red wine and other flavonoid-rich foods — like olive oil, nuts, fruits, and legumes — are considered staple foods in the Mediterranean-style diet, which has been associated with better weight control than a standard American diet (4, 5).

Unfortunately, evidence on the effects of red wine itself is fairly mixed. Some animal studies have found that red wine consumption decreases body weight and body fat levels, but others have found the opposite (6, 7, 8).

Additionally, a study in 29 people with obesity found that red wine antioxidants appeared to not affect blood sugar control (9).

However, other human studies have noted that moderate alcohol consumption may help improve blood sugar control — potentially making it easier to manage weight (10, 11).

More research is needed before the effects of red wine on weight control are fully understood.

Cons

Several studies have noted that excess alcohol consumption is linked to weight gain — especially in men (2, 12, 13).

Alcohol contains more calories per gram than carbs and protein, and many alcoholic beverages — like beer, wine, and mixed drinks — may also be loaded with sugar.

Because of this, it can be easier to consume more calories than you intend to when drinking alcohol (2, 14, 15).

Additionally, overconsumption of alcohol may lead to insulin resistance and blood sugar control problems, which may be a precursor to weight gain and type 2 diabetes (16).

Note that 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine is considered 1 serving, and moderate drinking is defined as no more than 2 servings of alcohol per day for men and 1 serving of alcohol per day for women (15).

Summary

Red wine is rich in the antioxidant resveratrol, but research is mixed regarding its positive weight effects. Excess alcohol consumption — including red wine — may lead to weight gain.

Luckily, you don’t have to completely avoid drinking red wine if you’re trying to lose weight.

Here are some ways that you can enjoy red wine without hindering your weight loss efforts:

  • Stick to one serving. A serving of wine is defined as 5 ounces (150 mL) (15).
  • Track your calorie intake. If you can include a serving of wine in your day and maintain a calorie deficit, then you should be able to continue losing weight.
  • Avoid dessert wines. Dessert wines are sweeter and more likely to contain more sugar and calories per serving.

As long as you’re watching your portion sizes and drinking in moderation, wine shouldn’t have a huge effect on your weight.

Additionally, if you notice that your weight loss is slowing down and nothing has changed except the amount or frequency of your red wine intake, try cutting back to see if that helps.

Summary

You can drink red wine and still lose weight as long as you limit how much you drink and track your calories.

Red wine is rich in antioxidants, but it’s also full of calories from alcohol and carbs. This makes it a mixed bag when it comes to weight loss.

Too much red wine, or any alcoholic drink, may hinder weight loss and contribute to weight gain. That said, red wine in moderation may provide some protective effects against weight gain.

To enjoy red wine while losing weight, make sure to stick to a single serving, avoid sugary dessert wines, and track your calories.



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